InterSystems Corporation has been selected by CSC Computer Sciences BV to provide its Ensemble integration platform for a national healthcare integration project in the Netherlands.

The new initiative, called the National Switching Point, will provide the foundation for the national rollout of an electronic patient record (EPR) that is being developed by the Dutch National ICT Institute for Healthcare (NICTIZ).

The goal of the National Switching Point project is to enable different Dutch healthcare organisations to rapidly exchange patient information while ensuring confidentiality. The project forms the first stage of the country’s National Information Infrastructure, which has been dubbed Aorta.

Phase one of the Netherlands-wide e-health project is scheduled for completion in early 2006, when the integration infrastructure will be delivered to enable pilot testing by representatives of multiple healthcare segments.

CSC BV has been awarded the contract to deliver the e-health infrastructure project. The company will use Ensemble to enable rapid integration of systems and integrate a wide variety of heterogeneous applications, systems and repositories.

“We chose Ensemble because it’s the best fit for the demanding requirements of the National Switching Point project,” said Darryl Berend, Director of Healthcare NL of CSC.

Development and management of the Ensemble-based system will be led by CSC under the supervision of NICTIZ. “Our experience with similar government projects in The Netherlands, United Kingdom and Denmark ensures we have the expertise needed to rapidly build the foundation of a reliable and cost-effective countrywide healthcare information network,” said Berend.

“We are very pleased to see that Ensemble is being chosen as the integration platform for EHR projects in countries around the world,” said Trevor Matz, InterSystems managing director, Ensemble.

Phil Birchall, Intersystems UK director of healthcare business development, told E-Health Insider the win was "highly significant contract win, as it’s a national project with a strong engineering component."

He explained that what was being built was not a national database or repository of electronic health records "but a national switch port for exchanging healthcare messages".

Birchall described the system to be built as a different approach to the national spine being built under the NHS IT programme in England. "It’s enabling infrastructure fitting in with the Dutch strategy."